Stop Serving Your Space; Make It Serve You

Making your space serve YOU.

Some notes on workability, encouragement to think outside the (space) box, a really awesome resource, and a note on moral neutrality.

Someone dancing with headphones on while dusting with dusters in both hands and under feet

A few years ago, I fell in love with KC Davis’ Struggle Care website, social media feeds, and book. I think a lot of you will love her work too. If you’re looking for a good place to start exploring KC’s work, I suggest you start with her explanation of what struggle care is, including her description of spoon theory and six pillars of struggle care.

A mind-blowing idea: Your space should serve you.

The first mind-blowing idea of KC’s that I came across was that your (physical) space should serve you, not the other way around.

What exactly does that mean? Instead of being a slave to your assumptions of how your physical space should work, cleaning, laundry, and chores, you make these things work for you instead.

Care tasks are morally neutral.

The second mind-blowing idea that KC promotes, which I encourage you to practice adopting immediately, is that care tasks are morally neutral. There is no virtue in having a clean kitchen or your laundry folded. No sin is associated with having a sink full of dishes or not having washed your sheets forever.

Everything Teach Me Self Care is heavily influenced by functional behaviouralism and Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT). There are two important points influenced by these lenses that I want to share with you:

  1. “Right” and “wrong” as labels applied to behaviour are unhelpful. Instead, what matters is if a specific behaviour is workable or unworkable.
  2. To know if a behaviour is workable, we need to know what is important to us (our values).

(KC uses the label “functional,” which is another label for workable).

In other words, you can structure your life, space, and care activities in whatever way works for you.

Some examples of making your space serve you.

As I write this post, I am camped in my basement beside my washer and dryer. I intend to spend my entire day here. Why? Because it’s the only way I’ll get my laundry done. I am notorious, otherwise, for putting in a load of laundry, wandering away, remembering it two days later, and having to re-wash it…. you get the drift. To prevent this, I park myself here and either work or read while I do laundry. Many people have seen me Zoom into a meeting from my (blurred out) basement!

Here are some other ways to make your space serve you:

  • Allowing yourself to live out of a clean basket of laundry instead of putting it away
  • I never purchase clothes I have to iron. I don’t even own an iron.
  • Using rooms in your house in ways they “aren’t intended.” For example, I have friends who turned their dining room into an art room for their family because they eat in their kitchen
  • Using paper plates and disposable utensils when you are very busy or overwhelmed

And KC has a ton of helpful recommendations on her Resources page! One of my faves is her strategy of having multiple toothbrushes.

In self-care solidarity,